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Pistons hire former Cavaliers, Michigan coach Beilein to head player deveopment

Michael Holley and Michael Smith discuss if the 2021 NBA Playoffs will be remembered more for fan misconduct or player injuries and debate if the Los Angeles Lakers have ever been fully healthy against the Phoenix Suns.

John Beilein struggled to fit in as an NBA coach, but the Pistons believe they have found a role that suits him: Player development specialist.

The Pistons will hire the former Cavaliers and Michigan coach as the “Senior Advisor for Player Development,” a story broken by Mark Stein of the New York Times.

Beilein coached Michigan to two Final Fours and was regarded as a strong player development coach who prepared his guys well for the NBA. Among the players for him at Michigan were Duncan Robinson, Tim Hardaway Jr., Caris LeVert, Jordan Poole, Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson III, Nik Stauskas, Moritz Wagner, and several others.

That’s the guy the Cavaliers thought they hired as a head coach in 2019. However, at age 67, Beilein struggled to adapt to the NBA coaching reality — the lack of practices, the relentless losing with a young team, and the fact that good NBA players have more organizational power than the coach — he couldn’t treat NBA players the way he did his college players. Beilein struggled as a head coach to relate to veterans or build relationships with his players, then he reportedly said they were “no longer playing like thugs” during a film session. He wasn’t able to adapt to the NBA head coaching style and resigned after 54 games.

A player development role should suit him better. This should be in his wheelhouse.

The Pistons have some quality young players — Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Killian Hayes, among others — and will be drafting more in the coming years as they continue their rebuild. The Pistons need Beilein to be part of their development and growth.